‘Mortal Kombat’ keeps it classic with latest release

Image via http://www.gamespot.com
Image via http://www.gamespot.com

‘Mortal Kombat X’ PS4 Review

By Alex Stanton, Staff Writer

Over two decades, 10 titles, and multiple spin-offs later, the famous fantasy fighting game series Mortal Kombat has returned with Mortal Kombat X. Created by Midway and currently handled by NetherRealm Studios, this one makes for the most polished Mortal Kombat yet.

A direct spiritual successor to NetherRealm’s DC superhero brawler Injustice: Gods Among Us, Mortal Kombat X takes everything that made the game a smash hit and improves on it in every single way. The fully destructible stages, the realistic animation, and the silky smooth frame rate from Injustice all carry over to Mortal Kombat X to make for a much more user-friendly experience.

For all the brawling mainstays that make Mortal Kombat X what it is, there is one thing that makes the whole thing feel new even to the fighting game veterans: a complete and utter shake-up of the cast of characters. Palette swaps are all too common in this genre and with its respectable 24-character roster (eight of whom are new to the series), studying the combos of each character becomes an incredibly deep experience. Those who have returned to the series, such as my main man Reptile, are still the same basic characters except for completely different move sets and the option to pick one of three special moves before the start of a match. Even the old characters feel fresh. As much as I miss Smoke, Cassie Cage and Takeda will suffice.

The main reason gamers play Mortal Kombat is because of the fierce competition that comes from brutalizing another player, but there is plenty to do for those who predominantly play offline and alone. The story mode, while sporting an acceptable plot and decent length compared to most other fighting games, still feels a bit less than substantial. A more streamlined way to play on your own is to play towers, which is basically Mortal Kombat’stake on arcade mode. You can either play a standard tower of 10 people or Test Your Luck, which is the new addition of a roulette that causes strange things to happen to the arena and your characters. It’s highly unbalanced but you can’t deny the cool factor of ice missiles flying from the sky trying to hit fighters who are surrounded by noxious gas.

Test Your Might deserves a mention only so that you know to avoid it. It’s the same kind of deal as a regular tower except that, instead of fighting, you mash buttons as hard as possible as you watch your character karate chop various objects. You can’t beat the tower without cheating.

I haven’t had this much fun with any other Mortal Kombat, or even any fighting game, in quite some time. Mortal Kombat X balances massive improvements to gameplay and aesthetic, combined with the qualities that make the series special.